Mighty Max. Now that’s a name I’ve not heard in a long time.
As many cartoons from the ’80s and early ’90s were about selling toys, Mighty Max was no different. Created in 1992, the toys acted as a boy-based take on Bluebird Toys’ Polly Pocket. While Polly Pocket was about a locket that opened up into a playset based on fashion and whatnot, Max’s playsets were in the shape of monster heads or sharks or coiled snakes or whatever. You’d get a cool-looking skull that you could hold in your little kid hand and open it up into tiny action figures in an adventurous environment.
All the while, the hero looked like a little boy version of Terry Bogard from Fatal Fury. Thank God for Super Smash Bros. making it so more people get this reference.
In 1993, the Mighty Max animated series started up, running 40 episodes across two seasons. Paulsen played Max, a snarky pre-teen who ends up getting roped into a prophecy about being the chosen one and having to wield a special red baseball cap that allows him to open portals through time and space (as one does). He’s joined by wise bird being Virgil (voiced by Tony Jay) and immortal, grizzled, badass bodyguard Norman (Richard Moll), who it turns out is the basis for legends like Thor, Hercules, Samson, and so on.
The villain of the show was the most base villain you could have on an early-90s cartoon: a skull-themed mastermind voiced by Tim Curry. Skullmaster had his own personal Bebop/Rocksteady-style henchman in Warmonger, also voiced by Rob Paulsen. Skullmaster’s big plan was to take over the world by killing Max and friends and stealing his magic cap.